Largest lake at the Balkan Peninsula
The whole territory of Montenegro is actually one big national park, which include few national parks, many mountains, rivers, canyons, lakes and Adriatic sea. Also, Montenegro offer enjoyment in many outstanding panoramas of incredible nature beauties. For sure, one of the most beautiful panorama of Montenegro you can admire standing on Pavlova Strana (the side of Pavle) above Rijeka Crnojevica and Skadarsko Jezero lake.
Skadarsko Jezero (Skadar Lake, Scutari Lake) is the largest lake at Balkan Peninsula and largest freshwater lake in the Balkans. It is named after the city of Skadar (Shkodra) in northern Albania (Shkodër in Albanian, Scutari in Italian and Skadar in Serbian). The origin of the name comes from the Greek "Skoutari". Skadarsko Jezero national park covers 40.000 ha, of which 391km2 is the lake itself. Lake is located in Zeta Scadar valley and is surrounded by mountains and 7 km far from Adriatic Sea.
Two Thirds of Lake of Scadar is in Montenegro and rest one third is in Albania. Depending of level of water space of Lake varies from 530 to 370 km2 it is considered 44 km long and 14 km wide. Of its total 391 km2 it therefore follows, more or less, that 219 km2 are in Crna Gora's territory. Coast line is very cut especially in north west side. Low valley of north part of Lake is often flooded. It is one of the largest lakes in Europe, especially when the water is high, containing 40 different kind of fish.
The lake is a cryptodepression, filled by the Moraca River and drained into the Adriatic by the long Bojana River, which forms the international border on the lower half of its length. The Montenegrin part of the lake and its surrounding area were declared a national park in 1983. It is one of the largest bird reserves in Europe, having 270 bird species, among which are some of the last pelicans in Europe, and thus popular with birders. The lake also contains habitats of seagulls and herons and is abundant in fish, especially in carp, bleak and eel.
There are also several villages around the shore with a modest variety of places to stay. Bordered to the east of Albanian, the lake is encircled on three sides by Montenegrin Mountain. The national park is one of the largest bird preserves in Europe. The lake varies in size considerably over the course of the course od the year. In the rainy season it is full and blue and in the summer it appears silver, shimmering in the sun.
Flora & FaunaFLORA:
The newest explorations of the phytoplankton community of Skadar Lake affirm the presence of 930 algae species, their varieties and forms, within 174 genders. 246 new algae types were recorded in Skadar Lake out of which 135 are very rare and new in algae flora of Montenegro.
Skadar Lake is characterized by highly noticeable and developed microphyte region. The rich vegetation of the higher water flora covers larger or smaller water surfaces mostly by the Lake shores.
Skadar Lake is situated at the contact point of major zoogeographic areas: spacious Paleolithic-arctic area, the Mediterranean and North African. This is of great importance for species of migratory fauna. The connection of these areas through Skadar Lake is best illustrated by the examples of the bird fauna and especially by the presence of African bird species and a number of West Siberian ducks that come to spend the winter.
The Lake area belongs to sub Mediterranean fauna habitat and its closest surroundings have the prominent continental fauna characteristics.
The Skadar Lake area avoided the impact of glaciation and in this way it presented an excellent natural refuge. Evidence of this is reflected in the presence of a large number of relict and endemic floral and animal species.
There are 48 fish species in Skadar Lake basin. 39 fish species live in the water that belongs to National Park. Since the Lake belongs to a warm water basin, the cyprinid species are dominant (14) and the most numerous species are, at the same time, ecologically and economically important.
Out of 264 bird species in Skadar Lake fauna: 73 species are migrating birds; 18 species are regular visitors; 45 are winter guests; 12 species regularly spend summer without nesting. That means that 90 % of the Skadar Lake bird species belong to the migratory part of the Lake’s ornithofauna. The richness of species and the large number of populations are caused by the geological and ecological specifics as well as by the relatively undisturbed ecosystem. Skadar Lake is inscribed by the Ramsar convention in The World’s List of Wetlands of International Importance, especially as birds’ nesting site.
Rijeka Crnojevica (Crnojevica River)
Tucked in peace of the Lake Scadar this little town stopped the time. Once upon a time it was one of the most important trading centers in this region, it left behind scenery that enchants anybody that comes to this breathtaking place. Rijeka Crnojevica got its name after Ivan Crnojevic than ruler of Montenegro, escaping from Turkish advances move its capital to Obod, one hill above Rijeka.
Rijeka Crnojevica in this time was gathering place of tradesmen of different religions and the spirit of tolerance was always present and neatly cared for. One of main products was dry ukljeva (endemic fish). Rich Italian traders paid it plenty as to bring it to their tables. Today Rijeka Crnojevica is famous for its bridge built by Prince Danilo in 1853, its mild climate for which family Petrovici built here their winter residence, for lovely scenery that calms and do not give you to get back to city life, for vineyards and waterfall, that will meet you at source of the River Crnojevic.
Skadarsko Jezero lake is easily accessed by road or rail, as it is situated on main transport routes (road Podgorica – Petrovac; railroad Podgorica – Bar). Both transport routes pass across the Lake and through Virpazar settlement. A small Virpazar is situated half way both by road and rail from the capital Podgorica (28km) and (30km) from the port town Bar.
Virpazar railway station is situated about 800m from the centre of the small town. Local trains stop at this station.
Traffic along the shore of the lake is along an asphalt local road, where is possible to stop at laybyes to observe the Skadar Lake and surroundings.
Information on tourist activities, accommodation, restaurants (NP Skadar Lake) at Visitor’s Centre of Montenegrins National Parks, situated at Authority Building, Vranjina:
tel: + 382 (0)20 879 100, 879 103, 879 097.
Lake cruises and visits to cultural-historic monuments starting from both: Vranjina and the quay at Virpazar are provided by licensed boat operators.
Passengers, who may arrive by plane at two disposal two international airports, Podgorica and Tivat.
Golubovci airport is 12 km far from center of Podgorica and 18 km far from Virpazar.
Tivat airport is 80 km far from Podgorica and 110 km far from Virpazar.
Montenegrin Air Company, Montenegro Airlines, communicates from both Tivat and Podgorica airports. http://www.montenegroairlines.com/
Office phone numbers:
Podgorica: +382 (0)20 664 411; 664 433;
Belgrade: +381 (0)11 26 21 122
JAT Airways, whose headquarters is in Belgrade also keeps regular air traffic with Tivat and Podgorica airports. http://www.jat.co.yu/
Office phone numbers:
Podgorica: +382 (0)20 664 740; 664 750
Belgrade: +381 (0)11 311 21 23
Phone numbers of Railway Stations:
Podgorica: +382 (0)20 441 211, 441 210
Bar: +382 (0)85 346 544
Phone numbers of Bus Stations:
Podgorica: +382 (0)20 620 430
Bar: +382 (0)30 346 141